Affordable Online Ancient Language Programs for Students of the Early Church

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Re: Affordable Online Ancient Language Programs for Students of the Early Church

Postby Ogrim » Fri Mar 12, 2021 4:07 pm

For Classical Arabic, seeing that you speak Egyptian Arabic and are intermediate in MSA, I am not sure how useful a beginner course in Classical Arabic will be for you, but I can at least recommend one source.

One is a course on Udemy called Arabic of the Quran from beginner to advanced. Udemy offers video courses that you pay a one-off price for and this allows you to download the lessons and work on them at your own pace and in your own time. This particular course is currently at 17 euros.

From the little research I have done, almost all online courses in Classical Arabic are centred on the texts of the Quran, but I assume that this is the basis from which you can go on to read texts by Christian Arab speakers.
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Re: Affordable Online Ancient Language Programs for Students of the Early Church

Postby seeker538 » Fri Mar 12, 2021 8:34 pm

I wonder if anyone here happens to know anything about this program?

https://catalog.liberty.edu/graduate/co ... -exegesis/

I know Liberty University isn't necessarily super prestigious (not that prestige is the goal here), but it seems affordable and looks like it would complement my schedule.
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Re: Affordable Online Ancient Language Programs for Students of the Early Church

Postby Xenops » Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:59 am

seeker538 wrote:I wonder if anyone here happens to know anything about this program?

https://catalog.liberty.edu/graduate/co ... -exegesis/

I know Liberty University isn't necessarily super prestigious (not that prestige is the goal here), but it seems affordable and looks like it would complement my schedule.


I guess it depends on how much you are willing to pay?

https://www.liberty.edu/student-financial-services/basic-costs/
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Re: Affordable Online Ancient Language Programs for Students of the Early Church

Postby IronMike » Sat Mar 13, 2021 10:51 pm

Glyphstudy does a Coptic course about every three years. They're almost a year into their current course (week 46 now I believe). I did the course until a couple months ago when other language opportunities came up. The course uses Lambdin's Coptic book, which I can highly recommend, as it is about 30 lessons, then about a third of the book is readings of the early Christian fathers.
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Re: Affordable Online Ancient Language Programs for Students of the Early Church

Postby Steve » Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:08 pm

seeker538 wrote:I wonder if anyone here happens to know anything about this program?
https://catalog.liberty.edu/graduate/co ... -exegesis/
I know Liberty University isn't necessarily super prestigious (not that prestige is the goal here), but it seems affordable and looks like it would complement my schedule.


I would guess it's the standard run on the mill Koine course offered at virtually every evangelical school. One link to the Greek I (NGRK520) course is here: https://liberty.campusconcourse.com/view_syllabus?course_id=40289&public_mode=1 That's an old syllabus, but I can't imagine it changes much.

For materials, they are using: Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek: Grammar (2009) and Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Video Lectures (2013). These are pretty standard ones a lot of beginning NT Greek courses use. The schedule is covering 20 chapters of Mounce in 8 weeks along with quizzes, tests, and homework.

Copying from that page (and reformatting):

Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
Recognize the characters of the Greek alphabet, Translate nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and prepositional phrases according to their basic functions. Translate the Indicative Mood forms of the Present Active, Present Middle (Deponent), Present Passive, Future Active, and Future Middle (Deponent) verbs. Parse the inflected form of verbs, nouns, adjectives, and pronouns. Translate Greek vocabulary words. Demonstrate knowledge of basic syntax through translation.


In other words, students are required to get good enough grades on quizzes, tests, and homework for the first 20 chapters of the textbook in 8 weeks. It's probably just like the majority of other NT Greek courses in which students will spend most of their time rote memorizing paradigm tables and vocabulary lists and doing exercises. In other words, you are going to be cramming Greek for two months to pass tests. Do a Bing or Google search for "Mounce Greek flashcards" and you can find a number of sources of commercial and free products to help do this. This particular course is an accelerated course. Most such courses would go an entire semester. The subsequent course will then probably cover the rest of the Mounce text and videos.

I suspect most of what is being paid for is the grading and accreditation if you get good enough grades. The William Mounce text, workbooks, and videos are pretty standard. If you need the formal credits, need someone to provide motivation to stay on track, or need interaction with a prof or peers, it might be worth it.

I've known dozens of people who've taken courses like that. The real goal of those courses is to empower people to spend hours looking carefully looking at a single word, phrase, or passage to fully understand what it "really" means with careful reference to established authoritative Greek reference materials and commentaries. The end purpose is usually sermon development or theological debate. In practice, the vast majority of people who take those courses do not acquire any significant amount of reading skills. Indeed, in those circles, the ability to actually pick up the NT (or other writings) and just enjoy reading them is regarded as something akin to a superhuman ability limited to geniuses and those who've dedicated decades to working on Greek.

If it fits your needs and is cost effective, it'd probably be okay. Most NT Greek courses are mostly the same anyplace you'd take them, especially if they are all using the same text and videos (which many do). However, if you are looking for something different (such as acquiring real reading skills to read a lot of NT, LXX, patristic, and ancient Greek writers for yourself in the upcoming years and decades), it's not going to happen without using other methods and materials in a way very different from the standard NT Greek course.
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Re: Affordable Online Ancient Language Programs for Students of the Early Church

Postby Beli Tsar » Sun Mar 14, 2021 3:17 pm

seeker538 wrote:I wonder if anyone here happens to know anything about this program?

https://catalog.liberty.edu/graduate/co ... -exegesis/

I know Liberty University isn't necessarily super prestigious (not that prestige is the goal here), but it seems affordable and looks like it would complement my schedule.


I won't repeat many of the comments that have been made already, but I (really) don't think this will fit your goals, even if it is a good program. What you need is the capacity to read both Attic and Koine, because the church Fathers are often heavily Atticizing. You also need the capacity to read texts that are unpredictable and for which few helps exist. Most NT focused courses won't help you do this, though certainly if you work hard and then do a lot of reading afterwards it is possible. Attic Greek is just somewhat more complex and idiomatic.

A simple NT Koine program won't be enough, you'll need a lot of self study to get to reading more complex texts, even if you are good at reading the New Testament and other Koine literature. I've been slowly getting used to Attic for a couple of years after reading Koine for some time before that, and it's not quick work. I'd strongly, strongly suggest starting with Attic. Then the only barrier to picking up Koine is vocab, which is comparatively easy (and for which there are truly excellent resources).

The answer to your deeper question depends strongly on whether or not you need accredited study, or simply the capacity to read well. If you need accreditation, then I'm not sure what to recommend, except that in your position I'd personally go for an Attic/Classics based program and teach myself Koine alongside by reading the NT/LXX with a reader's edition and Memrising lots of vocab.

If you can go for a cheaper, unaccredited program there are a few more taught options that are good. I haven't studied with any of them, but these have good reputations:
1. Seumas MacDonald (thepatrologist.com) offers relatively cheap taught courses, starting from Attic, but he's also adept in Koine and himself a patrologist, so he would be the ideal person to teach someone like you who needs to read that literature. He also teaches small numbers, so I suspect he'd have the time to give you good advice. He can teach you to read (and speak) properly, not just decode grammar.
2. Daryll Burling at masterntgreek.com is also a good, thoughtful teacher who develops real readers rather than simply grammar-decoders. He does do Koine only, which I wouldn't recommend, but he'd do it well.

If you are willing to teach yourself, things are of course a lot cheaper. That's what I did, and would do again. Two of the best Attic textbooks are
1. Learn to Read Greek by Keller and Russell - pricey, but an excellent textbook that's very thorough, lots of exercises, but well-explained. Used at Harvard etc.
2. Athenaze - a more reading-focused course, very good. If you read Italian, that version is even better, and in fact worth buying as a reading supplement to any other textbook if you can't.
3. JACT Reading Greek - very good, and covers a range of Greek styles, but a somewhat steep learning curve, with not quite enough reading/audio to back it up.

I can recommend Koine textbooks if you'd prefer, as well; and there's plenty to suggest for developing your skills once you've been through a course too.

If you teach yourself using one of these textbooks, Memrise should have plenty of vocab courses, as should Anki; and textkit.com is a forum which is excellent for asking about any difficulties you meet. I'd also suggest joining the Facebook group 'Nerdy Biblical Language Majors': it would be a good place to ask this question again, and is also a good place to ask for advice on specific language points. There are related groups, too, which cover Latin etc; and there are top-notch scholars of all the languages you have mentioned on those groups who will often answer questions on these languages and related issues.

Best of luck with your plans, whatever you decide!
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Re: Affordable Online Ancient Language Programs for Students of the Early Church

Postby seeker538 » Mon Mar 15, 2021 1:27 am

Thank you all for the helpful replies. It seems some level of self-study is unavoidable. What I will say is that I am the type who needs a structured curriculum to stay on track and I do wonder if having accreditation and possibly a thesis under my belt would be valuable in and of itself when applying for PhD programs. I do have Mastronarde's book as well as "Reading Greek." Looks like I'll need to create a schedule and stick to it.
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Re: Affordable Online Ancient Language Programs for Students of the Early Church

Postby blackcoffee » Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:46 pm

Seumas Macdonald is starting a new round of classes:

https://thepatrologist.com/2021/03/23/u ... t-seumasu/
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Re: Affordable Online Ancient Language Programs for Students of the Early Church

Postby IronMike » Wed Mar 24, 2021 12:18 am

blackcoffee wrote:Seumas Macdonald is starting a new round of classes:

https://thepatrologist.com/2021/03/23/u ... t-seumasu/

Thanks for this link. Not too bad price-wise.
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Re: Affordable Online Ancient Language Programs for Students of the Early Church

Postby guyome » Mon Apr 19, 2021 6:37 am

Just saw this and thought it may be interesting (I have no affiliation with them and don't know how good the courses are).

Dan Slușanschi School for Classical and Oriental Languages
Summer Courses 2021

All the courses below will be conducted in English (or Latin, for the beginners and lower intermediate Latin courses). For registration for any of the courses below, please send a cover letter and a CV to ccesiofh@gmail.com. The fee for each of the language courses below is 150 Euros (+ bank transfer fees).
Registration deadline: May 16.

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